In this age of modern medicine, it’s hard to imagine that a simple knee injury could end the career of an athlete, but that was exactly the reality for football, soccer and basketball players of years past. Now, thanks to the decades of research and advancements made by world-renowned physicians such as the ones at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, patients have the opportunity to return to a normal lifestyle and to the sports they love - even after sustaining a knee injury, such as an anterior cruciate ligament tear in South Jersey.
All About ACL Tears
The tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament is a very common knee injury and it is usually referred to simply as an ACL tear. While most people know someone who has torn a knee ligament, we all tend to take our own joints for granted. We assume that our knees will continue to work and function normally, but the reality is that an ACL tear can happen to anyone.
It is very common to hear of ACL tears occurring in sports that require quick pivoting motions, such as soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, skiing and golf. However, the ligaments of the knee can also be damaged during a simple, non-athletic activity, such as navigating an icy driveway on the way to the mailbox. In fact, tens of thousands of people tear their ACL each year in the US and here at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, we have the privilege of providing care for many patients who sustain ACL tears in south Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area.
Taking a Look Inside of the Knee
The common nature of this injury becomes more understandable when the anatomy of the knee is also properly understood. Imagine if you could see right through your knee cap. What would you observe in the inner workings of your knee joint? Well, the cruciate ligaments - both the anterior (ACL) and posterior (PCL) would be visible in the middle of the knee, crossing one another in a diagonal pattern, literally holding the bones of the leg in place at that essential area where they meet and rely on the knee joint for stability.
Have you ever wondered just what the ACL does for your body?
- Serves as the anchor point to connect the femur and the tibia
- Keeps the tibia (lower leg bone) from moving too far forward
- Controls the “back and forth” motion of the knee
- Prevents the entire knee from twisting inwardly
- Gives stability to the knee joint and allows it to rotate
It is obvious, then, that the ACL is an important piece to overall health and the ability to move and stabilize the body. Depending on the situation, some ACL injuries can be addressed with a non-surgical approach, but in most scenarios, and especially if the patients wants to return to playing sports or having an active lifestyle, ACL surgery is often required. For those who sustain an ACL tear in south Jersey, the first matter to address is where to get the best care.
Find Out Where to Go For an ACL Tear in South Jersey
Here at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, we’ve been caring for patients from the tri-state region for years. Our physicians have spent decades researching the knee, the common injuries associated with it and formulating the best methods for addressing those issues. ACL surgery is one area of expertise among our talented staff of knee surgeons.
What to Expect During & After Surgery
- You will probably receive general anesthesia, although in some cases, epidural anesthesia is administered
- Before the surgery, you will have determined with your surgeon whether you will be receiving autograft or allograft tissue replacement
- Very small incisions are made to provide access for a camera and tools to enter the knee
- The damaged ligament will be removed
- Arthroscopic tools allow the physician to thread the new ligament in place within the knee
- Surgeon will check for any other damage in the knee and will clean up the area before finalizing the surgery
- Stitches will be used to close the small incisions in the skin
- You may be asked to wear a brace for a period of time after the procedure and your physical therapy program will begin within the next week
- Your doctor will work with you through recovery to determine when you should go back to running (usually between 10-12 weeks post surgery) and when it is safe to play sports again (usually around six months).